THE paid parking trial that started last Friday at three foreshore parking areas is continuing to draw criticism from ratepayers and visitors to the Mornington Peninsula.
Timed and paid parking is already implemented by all councils across Melbourne’s waterfront areas, but the change is proving a hard pill to swallow for peninsula beach users accustomed to free, all-day parking.
The trial was labelled a “fiasco” at Flinders before it started and Mornington’s Schnapper Point car park is also proving problematic where Snapper Point Angling Club members and other boaties rely on easy access to car and trailer parking spots and fishing charter customers need a minimum five hours of parking (Paid parking trial ‘fiasco’ before it begins, The News 28/11/23).
The third car park in the paid parking trial is at Sunnyside Beach, Mount Eliza (No easy access to nude beach, The News 25/10/23).
Apart from 37 designated boat trailer parking area beside the yacht club, and an overflow area in Flinders Avenue, other parking spaces are time restricted for everyone, including along Schnapper Point Drive.
Angling club president Russell Sheppard said the timed parking would create mayhem for regular users, including the yacht club, recreational fishers, people with trailer sailers, jet skiers, water skiers and other families who go “cruising”.
The changes have brought in a mix of two-hour and four-hour time restrictions.
Sheppard says that move is in “direct conflict” with the state government’s Better Boating intentions for parking changes at Schnapper Point and along Schnapper Point Drive.
“It is labelled as visitor paid parking trial, but it captures locals too by restricting how long they can stay,” he said.
Sheppard said the fishing club was not consulted on the changes.
The mayor Cr Simon Brooks says the new restrictions cater to a variety of groups and offer options.
“While our residents will be able to park free of charge, visitors will need to pay and both residents and visitors will need to abide by the timing restrictions,” he said.
“The car park designated for boat trailer parking, however, remains unchanged and vehicles with trailers attached will continue to be able to park in this unrestricted car park free of charge. This is also the car park depicted on the Better Boating Victoria website as the area for boat trailer parking.
“If the boat trailer car park is full, the overflow area to park is now along Flinders Drive for vehicles with trailers attached, which can park free of charge. All day parking for customers of fishing or boat charters is also available along Flinders Drive.
“This is a pilot project and there will inevitably be a period of transition and adjustment. The aim of the pilot is to more fairly share the cost of maintaining our foreshores by asking visitors who use those areas to contribute. The new timing restrictions at Schnapper Point are aimed at encouraging vehicle turnover so that as many people as possible get to enjoy our foreshore.”